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Here's a copy of the Triangle Free-Net brochure, in case that helps any...
 
Judy Hallman, Triangle Free-Net, NC
-----------------
Launching the Triangle Free-Net
 
What is a Free-Net?
 
A Free-Net is a free computer service that promises to be as indispensable
as your television and telephone.  Like your TV, this exciting new service
delivers information, and like your telephone, it provides
person-to-person to communication.
 
The Free-Net can give you access to libraries, government services and
documents (such as city council minutes or tax records) , business and
consumer information, medical and legal information-- it can even help
with fixing your car or landscaping your yard.
 
With the Free-Net, you don't have to leave work or home to get
information; it's available 24 hours a day, at your convenience.  You can
also exchange messages with friends around the state, the nation, or the
world right from your home, 24 hours a day, using electronic mail
(E-mail).
 
The Free-Net allows you to get involved with your community, chat with
friends about hobbies, swap recipes--just about anything you can imagine.
 
The Free-Net offers your children a way to talk with children across town
or across the world, work on educational projects, and even play a game or
two. Not only can they learn to use a computer effectively, they can also
learn about different places in the world, trading information with
classes from Maine to Australia using the Free-Net. They also can send
e-mail to experts who might help them answer those tough questions kids
often have. The Free- Net opens a door to immense educational
opportunities for the whole family.
 
How does this work?
 
To access a Free-Net, you need a computer and a modem hooked to your
telephone, or similar computer-to-computer communications.  (Computers
with direct connections to the Internet have direct access to most
Free-Nets.) You dial a local telephone number that connects you to the
Free-Net computer, and then follow the simple instructions and "menus"
that take you to the information you seek. So to send a message to a
friend, for instance, you'd simply go to the e-mail area, write your
message, and "mail" it. It's really that simple!
 
Is the Free-Net just another bulletin board?
 
Free-Nets are similar to ordinary electronic bulletin boards in that both
require a computer with modem, and both are accessed with a telephone
line. Both provide information and allow a user to interact with other
participants. But a Free-Net typically covers a wider spectrum of
community information than the hobbyist or commercial BBS, and it puts you
and your family in direct communication with the community's officials and
leaders. Most Free-Nets also provide access to the worldwide computer
network called the Internet.
 
But what if I don't have a computer?
 
Computers are becoming common in schools and libraries. As Free- Nets grow
more useful and popular, public computers will be made available in
additional areas, like senior citizen centers, local government buildings,
hotels, and restaurants. This might sound like an exclusive club, but more
and more people are growing comfortable with computer operation. Computer
literacy today is comparable to reading literacy a century ago.
 
Where are the present Free-Nets?
 
Cleveland, Ohio, was the first area to establish a Free-Net, back in 1986.
Free-Nets are now operating in Tallahassee (FL), Peoria (IL), Denver (CO),
and Columbia (MO), to name a few.  Around the world, there are Free-Nets
in Victoria, BC; Wellington, NZ; and Bayreuth, Germany.
 
What's all this really going to cost?
 
Free-Nets estimate their costs for equipment, telephone lines, materials,
and staff at around $150,000 per year. Most Free-Nets are financed in much
the same way as public radio and public TV:  by donations from private
foundations, corporations, small businesses, and state or local
governments. Individual private donors are an integral part of Free-Net
support.
 
The basic goal of a Free-Net is to be free--that is, not to charge people
for access to public information.
 
How do I try out the Triangle Free-Net?
 
Well, it isn't quite ready for you to use yet. Triangle Free-Net, run by a
nonprofit corporation, has volunteers working to make the Free-Net a
reality. The volunteers have set up a development system and are currently
designing the menus and gathering data for a Free-Net that will link the
Research Triangle area--Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill--through a
Research Triangle Park telephone exchange.
 
How can I help?
 
Your financial contribution at this time will help pay for telephone lines
and equipment needed to launch the Triangle Free-Net. Please complete the
attached form and mail in your tax-deductible contribution today.
 
Triangle Free-Net needs people who are willing to provide their time and
expertise; computer expertise is not required. Most of the muscle of the
Free-Net is supplied by volunteers, people like you, who feel a sense of
pride in sharing with the community. More volunteers are needed to provide
information and plan the system.
 
Information providers identify information that would be valuable to users
of the Free-Net; they gather the basic information for the system, and
they keep it up to date. These contributors also monitor sections of the
electronic discussion groups, and some answer "ask-an-expert" questions,
posting their answers in the system.
 
Workers and expertise are needed in the following areas:
 
-- User interface design.
-- Identification of data to include on the system.
-- Business and financial planning.
-- Hardware, software, networking support.
-- Publicity and training.
 
In this early stage of development of the Triangle Free-Net, most of the
communication is done by electronic mail. If you would like to
participate, please send an electronic mail message to
[log in to unmask] She will send you information about the
triangle.freenet Usenet Network News discussion group and how to subscribe
to the Free-Net listservers.
 
YES, I support the Triangle Free-Net! Enclosed is my tax-deductible
contribution.
 
Member    $35  ___       Student  $15 ___
Patron    $100 ___       Other        ___
Founder   $500 ___
 
Name________________________________________________
Address________________________________________________
City _________________________ State_________  Zip__________
Phone (days) ___________________ E-mail________________________
      (nights)_______________
I would like to receive notices by US Mail ___
My employer is _________________________ (for matching funds)
 
Make checks payable to Triangle Free-Net
P.O. Box 13395, Research Triangle Park, 27709.